Palladino reaches Derbyshire milestone
When Tony Palladino took his 250th first class wicket for Derbyshire at Canterbury this season, he became only the 42nd bowler to reach the landmark for the county.
Heritage Officer, David Griffin, examines Palladino’s achievement from a statistical perspective.
Just 49 bowlers have taken over 200 wickets for Derbyshire, and the list contains some of the finest players in the county’s history. The names of Jackson, Gladwin, Bestwick, Morgan, Mitchell, Smith, Copson, Rhodes, Miller, Malcolm, Pope, Mycroft, Cork, Hendrick, Mortensen, Dean and DeFreitas roll off the tongue of anyone with a knowledge of the history of the club, and – with a few honourable exceptions – the majority are fast or fast-medium bowlers.
Indeed, since Edwin Smith retired in 1971, just two slow bowlers have passed the 200-wicket mark in the ensuing 46 years, Fred Swarbrook (416) and Geoff Miller (632), compared to 22 fast and fast-medium bowlers.
In terms of numbers, those set by players like Les Jackson (1,670) and Cliff Gladwin (1,536) will never be matched, while five others also passed the 1,000-wicket mark – Bill Bestwick, Tommy Mitchell, Derek Morgan, Edwin Smith and Bill Copson.
As far as bowling averages are concerned, none of the other bowlers on the list come close to the legendary William ‘Bill’ Mycroft who took 544 wickets at the astonishing average of 11.71 between 1873 and 1885. For purposes of comparison, Les Jackson’s average of 17.11 is the next best after Mycroft.
Also of note is AB ‘Brian’ Jackson’s record – coming late to the first-class game in 1963, he only played six seasons for Derbyshire, taking 456 wickets at just 18.86.
Palladino’s achievements come in a different era compared to the feats achieved before the late 1970s when pitches were uncovered, and in the case of the 19th century, varied massively in quality from very good to appalling.
It’s therefore fairer to assess Palladino’s record in the light of the modern game and in terms of the 21st century. He sits in good company alongside Kevin Dean, Graeme Welch, Tim Groenewald and Mark Footitt as the only bowlers to pass the 200-wicket mark.
Palladino has already passed Groenewald and lies only one wicket behind Footitt. Welch stands 43 wickets ahead of him, while Dean ended his career with 398 victims for the county of his birth.
As a bowler, his role has changed since he first came into the side following his move from Essex in 2011. Initially, he enjoyed an opening partnership with Groenewald and then Footitt, bowling at a brisk fast-medium, almost always making early breakthroughs, and twice – in 2011 and 2012 – passing the 50-wicket mark.
Latterly, he has adopted the mantle of senior pro, bowling at a slightly reduced pace, but with immaculate control and setting the standard for the young quick bowlers around him. His appointment as player-coach at the start of 2017 offers him more opportunities to pass on his knowledge and skills.
His 56 wickets in 2012 were crucial in securing Derbyshire’s promotion from Division Two as champions, a year in which he also memorably took a hat-trick (pictured above) against Leicestershire at Grace Road. To date his 250 wickets have been taken at the respectable average of 27.38.
In total, Palladino now has 367 wickets in first class cricket, with another 82 in List A and Twenty20 cricket – so one more wicket in any format will take him to 450 in senior cricket. A first-class record of 400 wickets and 500 overall are targets just on the horizon for a very likeable, talented and hard-working cricketer.
The complete list of players with 200 or more first class wickets for Derbyshire is shown below.
|FC 200 fc wickets|
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